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God’s Plan for Parenting

By Henry Nelson



Colossians 3:20-21 “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” It is early in the new year but it is not too early to look at the way we teach our children It is nice to know that God has a plan for parenting. It may be that parenting is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. We seem to have more and more parents who do not take their role in their children’s lives seriously. In most cases children do not create problems they reveal them. This seems true for the most part. They reveal where their parents have failed to teach them right and wrong and whether or not they have been instructed in the Lord. A study once disclosed that if both Mom and Dad attend church regularly, 72% of their children remain faithful to church attendance. If only Dad, 55% remain faithful. If only Mom, 15%. If neither attends regularly, only 6% remain faithful. This statistic speaks for itself. It shows the impact of the parents on the children and their faith.{{more}}   Paul gives the children and then the parents some clear instructions about God’s Will for them. Ephesians 6:1-4 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Amen!   Children should obey their parents. One of the qualities that Paul lists of children in the last days is that they will be disobedient to parents. 2nd Timothy 3:2 says,” People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and unholy.” Amen!   It seems that we are in these last days. In today’s world parents do not teach their children to respect authority anymore. I see this reflected in many of the youth seen riding transit buses, walking the street and using the internet. They do not respect older adults in many settings. It is a constant barrage of loud nasty music, profane language and sexual comments to the passengers on some rail and bus lines.   Their parents have not spent the time teaching their children when they are young. It is natural for children to test limits. They want to find out where the boundaries are. You do not need to teach a child to say “no” or “mine” they pick it up without difficulty. Part of the role of parents is teaching their children to share, to give, to forgive, and to love others. We are by nature selfish; part of our role as parents is to teach otherness to our children. We should show our children and grandchildren how good it can feel to help others. That’s what I really appreciate now about work camp that I attended for 3 years at church. We went to help others who were elderly or handicapped and could not do for themselves. You might fix a roof or paint a house or put a railing on a set of stairs or clean up some property. I remember one lady we helped clean the lot next to her home. It looked like the jungles in Africa. We took swing blades and then mowers and cut down the tall grass. It was hard work. But, it did not feel like it was as hard as it was because I knew I was helping someone who could not do this for themselves and could not afford to pay to have it done. That made a big impression on me as a 17 year old. A father once said to his son, “You should be getting ready. The bus will be here in a minute to pick you up and take you to Sunday school.” The boy asked, “Did you go to Sunday School when you were a boy?” The father replied, “Yes, I did.” The boy said as he was getting dressed, “It probably will not do me any good either.” That little boy was saying something about how much the church had made an impact on his father’s life. That is the sermon that the kids remember.   Children want to find out what is important from you as a parent. Part of the way I show love to a child is by saying “no”, by consistently setting limits, by teaching them what is important in life. In one recent survey, fathers were said to spend only 37 seconds a day in conversation with their boys. How do you teach anyone anything important in 37 seconds a day? One of the ways I demonstrate love to my children is spending time with them and consistently setting limits. It can be said that, if a child lives with criticism, He learns to condemn. If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight. If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to be shy. If a child lives with shame, He learns to feel guilty. If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient. If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate. If a child lives with fairness, He learns justice. If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith. If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, He learns to find love in the world. Realize as a parent you are a steward of your child. Deuteronomy 4:9-10 says, “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.” The Lord admonishes us to be careful that we do not forget what God has done for us and to make sure to pass down your faith to your children and grandchildren. God has given each parent a responsibility to train up their children in the Lord. This cannot be passed on to someone else, it is yours. Proverbs 22:6 says, “To train us a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will follow it.” Amen! We are to do our part to train up our children and grandchildren in the Lord. As parents we are working in partnership with God to bring our children from a self-centered lifestyle to a God-centered and other centered basis for living.” Your goal is “to produce responsible adults who are able to function independently of parent’s authority, yet wholly submitted to God’s”. Amen! Remember to be fair in discipline. God is always our model in discipline. God treats us with grace, not as we deserve. He treats us fair and is quick to forgive. He is motivated by love and operates out of love. There are two dangers in parenting, one is being too lenient. It is the failure to set rules and to be consistent with them. The other is to be too rigid, too harsh and to set impossible standards that your children cannot live up to. This quenches the spirit of a child.   Lastly, Hebrews 12:7-10 says, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline, then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Now you know God’s plan for parenting. Amen!

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